Let me start by saying I love my family very much, but I also am deeply in love with occasionally having the house to myself, reading a book in peace or being in charge of the remote control. Does this sound familiar?
After all these many months of school closure and other halves working from home, we should be used to the alien feeling of having our family constantly invading our space. Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone, so the team at Happy Go KL thought you might want some to hear some top tips to help you survive.
Full disclosure, official research has not been used to produce this article. However, before I put pen to paper to compile this guide, I did consult with numerous experts in the field of ‘how to endure endless weeks at home with the family during a pandemic’. Those experts are my friends and fellow parents, but I have not included their names to avoid embarrassment.
Top tips for domestic bliss
- Only allow your family to wear sports clothes
It doesn’t matter if Lycra is not flattering for them, at the moment they hardly leave the house anyway. What matters is that it cuts down on the ironing.
- Invest in noise cancelling headphones
Over the last few months I have mastered the art of working whilst noisy chaos fills the room. But if you just can’t block it out, I recommend screen time for the kids. Oh, they’ve already exceeded their daily dosage? Just use noise cancelling headphones.
- Chores are an instant cure for boredom
Are your children or partner driving you insane with constant claims of boredom? If so, give them a list of chores that they can complete to keep them entertained. You’ll be amazed how they immediately find something to do.
- Step away from your weapon of mass distraction
If you want your family to spend less time on their devices, then you’re going to have to try and spend less time on yours. At least you need to get better at hiding that you’re on it – maybe hide it in a book!
- Teach your family to prepare simple meals
This is genius! Not only are you teaching them valuable life skills, but it also means that you can occasionally get out of having to make dinners.
- Turn off the WIFI if you want to see your teenager
Parents of young children can’t remember having a moment’s peace. However, parents of teenagers face a very different problem: the house is too quiet. Many only see their young adults emerge from their rooms when they want food or money. The solution is at your fingertips. Simply turn off the WIFI. They will be so horrified and bored, that they’ll have to leave their rooms.
- Use the magic word to clear the room of a tweenager
Is Netflix calling your name or you just want an adult conversation without little ears listening? Faced with this situation a friend of mine just utters the word ‘puberty’. Watch how before your very eyes any tweenager leaves the room quick as a flash.
- Put yourself in a time out
Before it gets to the stage where you lose your patience and get sent to the naughty step, try and find a little bit of time for yourself. Unless your partner has the power to mind read, don’t expect them to offer to let you have some ‘me time’. So ask for it and then return the favour.
- Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve run out of steam
During our first stretch of time at home, social media was flooded with photos of parents conjuring up creative ways to entertain their offspring. I saw everything from baking, to fashion shows and discos. This time round there seems to be a drought of images, as parents have exhausted all their best ideas and children have become used to the ‘new normal’. Relax… It’s ok.
- Don’t share a work space with your other half
Find a corner of your home, no matter how tiny and claim if as your own.
- Using Google will help to make your child still respect you
Before homeschooling, it was much easier for your child to be under the false illusion that their parents knew everything. I just really hope that my children return to school soon, because no amount of Googling will help me to understand some of the maths problems that 12 year olds get these days.
Every COVID cloud has a silver lining
For all the downsides to a pandemic – and I think no one disagrees there are many -, there are also a number of positives. Life has slowed down and we’ve been forced to think about what is really important to us. For those of us that haven’t seen loved ones for months due to travel restrictions, we will really make the most of the time when we are eventually reunited.
We also appreciate teachers more. Having tried our hand at teaching whilst homeschooling, I realise that anyone can teach but not everyone can teach with professionalism and patience. During a particularly low point of homeschooling, I remember saying to my son that he wouldn’t speak to his teacher that way. He quite rightly pointed out his teachers wouldn’t speak to him the way I was! I think it is during instances like these that have led parents around the world to all agree that teachers deserve all the holidays they get – I know I do!